Paragould School District uses new law to help make up snow days

Paragould School District uses new law to help make up snow days

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - After being hit with a few winter storms this year, school districts across the state are deciding how to make up those snow days.

Some schools will go into June and others won't have a Spring Break.

One Region 8 school district however, is using a newly passed law in the state of Arkansas to help make up snow days.

Act 286 allows school days to be made up in 60 minute increments at the beginning or end of a regular school day.

For 18 days in April, Paragould School District students will stay at school for an extra hour.

Paragould Schools Superintendent Debbie Smith explained that they missed eight days due to snow. Three will be made up in extended hours and two will be made up during Spring Break.

"I understand that this is not going to be the best solution for everyone in the district," Smith said.

For Brittni Brown's sons, time after school is spent helping with chores and spending time with family. That's why she said when she learned of the school district's decision to extend school, she wasn't happy.

"As of now, I only get three and a half hours a day with my kids and now it's gonna be cut down to two and a half," Brown said.

Brown told Region 8 News that she thinks kids might struggle to pay attention during that extra hour as well.

"After 3 o'clock, they're gonna notice a big difference in how kids act," Brown said. "I would have much rather them go the full spring break. Just for an extra three days off, it just doesn't make sense to me."

Superintendent Smith said she knows this option isn't popular among all parents.

"We tried to compromise," Smith said. "We wanted the students to be able to have that break but we need that instruction time."

Smith said the goal isn't just to get the required 178 school days in before summer. With the second round of PARCC testing taking place in May, they hope to get extra instruction time in during those extended days in April.

Some parents are glad for that.

"Especially kids that are really struggling, I know my little girl really struggles in class and I feel that extra hour will really benefit her," mom Alicia Hunt said.

Hunt told Region 8 News that though she sees both sides of it, she agrees with the decision as it will keep kids from going to school until June.

"Those kids, they really want their summer breaks and if they're like us, we do a lot of camping," Hunt said.

Though there are varying opinions on extending school days during April, Smith said in the end, the decision was based on what was best for the students.

"We're all going to have to just work together to do the best we can, keeping in mind that what we need to do is focus on the students," Smith said.

Smith told Region 8 News that older students will likely spend that extra hour rotating classes. For instance on Monday, students might go back to their first hour class. Tuesday, they'd rotate back to their second hour class and so on.

For younger students, classes will likely be lengthened but lunch time will stay the same.

Snacks will also be given out in that last hour of school.

The extended days will begin Monday, March 30 and last until Tuesday, April 28. The extended days will not take place on Fridays.

Smith said this is something they are doing as a trial to see if it works for the future.

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